INEC Advocates Alternative Disputes Measure In Electoral Litigation

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By Chibuzo Ukaibe, Abuja

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has urged the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC) to identify strategies that will reduce violence and litigations in the country’s electoral process.

Chairman of the Commission, Professor Yakubu Mahmood, made the call yesterday when the Council of ICMC, led by its President, Barrister Emeka Obegolu, paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.

Yakubu noted that there was a lot the commission and ICMC could achieve in ensuring that elections are free, fair and devoid of rancour.

He said “If we can mediate and if all of us can be on the same page, we can conduct our elections seamlessly, less litigation, less the amount of money spent in prosecuting those processes of litigation and our elections will always be conclusive”.

While underscoring the important role of Alternative Dispute Resolution in the electoral process, the INEC chairman regretted that the Nigerian political space was conflict prone, adding that “where ever the commission had difficulty, it was simply because of violence”.

Yakubu further disclosed that “the commission had been dragged to court over 1000 times since the 2015 general elections, adding that “this is always at a cost to the commission and the country”.

The INEC Chairman noted: “It would be ultimately cheaper for everybody if we have a seamless process and that process can be achieved, not just by the legislation enabling us to conduct elections and legal processes, but also by the intervention of Institutes such as the ICMC”.

Earlier, the president of ICMC, Emeka Obegolu, commended the current leadership of the commission for its dedication towards ensuring that Alternative Dispute Resolution was deployed to resolve party disputes.

He said the visit was to further solidify and strengthen the partnership with the commission as well as chart a way forward for the deployment of ADR tool in other aspects of the electoral process to reduce litigations, violence and advance the cause of democracy in Nigeria.